Clarify Purpose and Inspire Greatness


Elizabeth Zott in Lessons in Chemistry lived her purpose, no matter what.


According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, "roughly 85% of 1,000 U.S. professionals polled in a new LinkedIn survey say they are thinking about changing jobs this year, up from 67% a year earlier." WOW! In the past, that percentage has hovered between 50-60%.

Those employees, who are a critical resource in their firm, are obviously not inspired by their work or the benefits they're receiving. The firms themselves are losing an important competitive advantage when their people aren't engaged or motivated in a common purpose. What is that purpose and why isn't it inspiring employees?

Definition of Purpose

Merriam Webster defines purpose as the reason why something is done or used, the aim or intention of something. Purpose encompasses a range of aspirations, from a grand reason for living to narrow objectives. Purpose is used interchangeably with the terms aim, target, goal, and intention.

There is a human need for purpose. In Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, discovered that purpose gives people a will to stay alive. He reports, "Man actually needs the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him." Kenneth Thomas, in Intrinsic Motivation at Work, says, "We seem to need to see ourselves as going somewhere — as being on a journey in pursuit of a significant purpose.

What Is Core Purpose?

"Core purpose is the organization's fundamental reason for being. An effective purpose reflects the importance people attach to the company's work. It captures the soul of the organization," say James Collins and Jerry Porras in Built to Last. "Purpose should not be confused with specific goals or business strategies. Whereas you might achieve a goal or complete a strategy, you cannot fulfill a purpose; it is like a guiding star on the horizon — forever pursued, but never reached."

Purpose is the WHY a firm exists. It's not simply to make money or to increase shareholder value. Those are important goals but not the purpose. Consider these organizational examples of core purpose:

Disney - Make people happy
U.S. Health and Human Services Department - Improve the health, safety, and well-being of Americans
3M Company - Solve unsolved problems innovatively
Girl Scouts - Build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place
State of Colorado, Office of Information Technology - Together we enhance the lives of all Coloradans

Radish Systems, the technology venture I co-founded with Richard A. Davis, has an important purpose: to fundamentally improve the way people communicate with businesses. Learn more.

My Story. I am a catalyst in helping organizations and leaders contribute and deliver extraordinary results. I have led firms, both large and small, in public and private sector, and their leaders in their strategic thinking process. The result is clarity on values, vision, purpose as well as a 1-page strategic plan. Think of me and let me help you define and deliver results toward your core purpose.

Purpose Improves Business Performance

"A key role of core purpose is to guide and inspire," say Collins and Porras. When a firm has an inspiring purpose, people are drawn to work for the firm. The best and the brightest want to be involved. Rather than be itchy to leave, they want to stay, be engaged, and contribute to their fullest. People get a sense of meaningfulness from their work. According to Kenneth Thomas, work that delivers a high level of choice, competency, progress, and meaningfulness leads to intrinsic motivation which leads to high levels of engagement, fun, retention, and results.

A participant in my Pursuit of Passionate Purpose research study, Don Vanlandingham, the retired chairman and CEO of Ball Aerospace, said, "Ball Aerospace combines meaningful work with passionate people. A lot of our people would work even if we didn't pay them." What Don was saying is that Ball's purpose made a positive difference on Ball's culture and inspired their people.

Why Passionate Purpose?

Opportunities surround us, but you must open your eyes to see them. When preparation meets opportunities, you will find your purpose. When you align that purpose with your passion, you will find your passionate purpose. A passionate purpose is a goal or intention pursued with great enthusiasm, interest, zeal, and/or passion. The conclusion of my research, published in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, is: "The pursuit of passionate purpose, as well as its attainment, and connections along the way bring the real rewards of life."

Practical Pointers for Purpose — Organizations and Individuals

PREPARE. Purpose comes when preparation meets the possibilities. Nurture yourself and your passions by continuing to learn, grow, and trying new things. Do things that will build your true self. Be action-oriented.
ASK WHY. Consider using the Five Why Method to know your purpose and why to pursue it.
ASK HOW. How does pursuing this purpose bring meaning to your life?
CLARIFY YOUR PURPOSE. I recently met Kevin McCarthy, author of The On-Purpose Person. He offers this approach.


Purpose is the fundamental reason for being. As Viktor Frankl states, "There is a human need for purpose." Both organizations and individuals have a "why they exist." Prepare, ask why, ask how, get clear, and commit to your purpose!


copyright 2024 Theresa Szczurek, all rights reserved.

credit for photo

Accessibility Matters

Accessibility Icons

Is your business and your technology accessible? Accessibility is a hot topic. So much so that the State of Colorado legislature passed and Governor Polis signed HB21-1110 into law in 2021. Most all accessibility guidelines relate to web content or documents. They assume people will start at a website. But what about people who start with a phone call? Learn more in this newsletter.

CODA won the best picture Oscar in 2022. The acronym CODA means 'child of deaf adult.' This touching movie raises awareness of the challenges faced by people with hearing disabilities, as well as CODA family members. The question we need to ask is, what are we doing to support people with hearing loss or other disabilities, and improve their accessibility?

Why Should You Care?

NEGATIVE IMPACT. Hearing loss has been shown to negatively impact nearly every dimension of the human experience, including physical health, emotional and mental health, perceptions of mental acuity, social skills, family relationships, and self esteem, as well as work and school performance.
FINANCIAL IMPACT. Those with unaided hearing loss earned on average $20,000 less annually than those who used hearing aids or cochlear implants.
PEOPLE IMPACT. About 15% of the world's population, or over 1 billion people, live with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning. They are the world's largest minority.
IT'S THE LAW. U.S laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), require that accommodations be made to improve accessibility to those with hearing and other disabilities. In Colorado, HB21-1110 makes it a state civil rights violation for a government agency to exclude people with disabilities from receiving services or benefits because of lack of accessibility. All state agencies and local governments must be compliant with state standards by July 1, 2024. The United Nations adopted in 2006 a Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Practical Pointers for Coping with Hearing Loss

GET EDUCATED. Learn about hearing loss and other disabilities and what you can do to accommodate the situation.
SEEK MEDICAL HELP and get tested. People with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help.
COPE AND SUPPORT. The Mayo Clinic offers tips to help you communicate more easily despite your hearing loss. Tell your friends and family that you have some hearing loss. Position yourself to hear by facing the person you’re talking to. Turn off background noise. For example, noise from a television may interfere with conversation. See the complete list.
TURN ON CAPTIONS. During virtual meetings and while watching TV, turn on captioning so audio is represented in text format. In this way, people can leverage visual as well as audible information sources.
TAKE ACTION. Government and businesses must consider the Americans with Disabilities Act and provide technological and other solutions that can help people accommodate hearing loss.
USE 'VOICE WITH VISUALS' COMMUNICATIONS. According to Dr. John Medina, author of Brain Rules, when you see and hear information you are 600% more likely to understand. Radish System's ChoiceView® addresses this market with a new kind of voice-and-visual phone call positioned between a voice-only call and a videoconference. ChoiceView improves phone accessibility for users with sensory, cognitive, or mobility disabilities. It helps businesses make and save money while preserving compatibility with their existing phone systems. ChoiceView provides a realistic alternative for users who want to reach businesses via a phone call but need to engage beyond voice only. Learn more.


Accessibility matters. Over 1 billion people in the world live with disability. You should care because of the large negative impact on people and the economy and because it's now the law. Use these tips: get educated, seek medical help, cope, provide support, and take action. Consider how to expand from voice-only to 'voice with visuals' communications.

Theresa M. Szczurek  copyright 2022.  All rights reserved.  

Something Completely Different is Good


And now...

When something is not working out or has not yet delivered, we often try harder. Is that your typical approach? Martha Beck, bestselling author of Way of Integrity, says, "Most of my clients, once they've admitted that their lives aren't really working, try to fix the problem by doing everything they've always done, but harder."

I know that when I set a goal, I persistently pursue it. Relentlessly! I buckle down and work harder, longer, and hopefully more creatively. Most times it delivers. But what if it doesn't?

Consider the mantra, "And now for something completely different." It's from Monty Python, the British surreal comedy troupe that created the sketch comedy television show, Monty Python's Flying Circus. What is the 'completely different' for you?

Assess Progress

This is the time to Assess Progress. During this state of the four-phase Pursuit of Passionate Purpose process, you assess how things are going and, depending on the answer, you determine what's next. You may continue pursuing a passionate purpose, with or without mid-course adjustments. Alternatively, you may determine, with or without making the goal, to move on.

My Path

I recall pursuing my first entrepreneurial venture, Radish 1.0. There came a time when our original business model was not delivering big enough or fast enough. We pivoted to a new approach. This allowed us to attract significant partners and eventually set the stage for a good exit.

However, as the co-founder, I began to experience personal challenges in this new environment. I felt I couldn't live true to my own highest convictions anymore. I perceived that my core value of integrity was being compromised. I tried to change the situation, but couldn't. I tried to live with the situation, but couldn't. I finally made the difficult decision to leave my Radish baby and move on. I did not die. Radish did not die. Rather in the end, it opened the opportunity for me to finally get pregnant and deliver on the Baby Plan. It brought our true baby, Annie. Oh joy!

And more recently, since leaving the State of Colorado CIO position, I've been consulting, speaking, helping Radish 2.0, volunteering with US Digital Response, and serving as a Trustee for Western Colorado University — while still being open to other opportunities to contribute. My sense, however, is that now may be time for something completely different. Stay tuned.

Practical Pointers

ASSESS. Use your favorite assessment method to determine how things are going. One of the simple measures is pleasure versus pain. Are you smiling or are you sighing?
APPRECIATE. Once you recognize some progress or a successful step, then appreciate it. Rewards, recognition, and celebration are ways to be grateful. Thank yourself, other people, and spiritual forces that are helping you along the way.
ALLOW. Consider the surrender suggestions from Martha Beck's Way of Integrity, which I realize are so consistent with the Allowing Strategy in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose. Realize that you have no control over anything. Focus on the present. Just be. Try saying these affirmations while you breathe in and out: "I allow everything in the universe to be as it is in this moment. I surrender all resistance to the universe being as it is in this moment."
MOVE ON. Every pursuit has a beginning, middle, and end — just like the cycles of life. Sometimes it's necessary, albeit difficult, to stop, be present, go in-between, or try something completely different. That difference could be just a mid-course correction, an adjustment, or a broader change. It could involve moving on.


When things are not working (or even when they are), stop, be present, breathe, and surrender. Appreciate, adjust, and perhaps move on. It may be time to try something completely different!


Theresa Szczurek copyright 2022.  All rights reserved.  

The Courage to Continue

Winston Churchill

Given the current state of the world with war, climate change, pandemic, and economic turmoil, the courage to continue in these 'worst of times' is paramount for all of us. The movie, Darkest Hour, portrays the extreme challenges faced by Winston Churchill, the newly elected Prime Minister, as Hitler aimed his war machine on England. His personal approach in meeting these challenges was, "Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts."

I believe that to survive and thrive in these times — to find the courage to continue — represents a pursuit of passionate purpose. "The pursuit of passionate purpose, as well as its attainment, and relationships along the way bring the real rewards in life," from my book, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose.

Practical Pointers

CLARIFY YOUR PASSIONATE PURPOSE. Passionate purpose is an intention or goal pursued with passion, intense enthusiasm, zeal, fervor, and interest. What is your purpose? Why is attainment of this goal meaningful? The more meaningful the purpose, the more intense is the passion, and the more noteworthy is the impact. In the case of the Darkest Hour, the survival of the U.K. and the free world was at stake. On a personal level, purpose can relate to health, finances, job, relationships, and many other aspects of life.
FIND COURAGE. Once you know the purpose is right, it's time to commit to it wholly. The word courage comes from the French root, corage, which means "having heart". If you are clear on your values and the idea serves your spirit and values, then courage comes. With courage to commit comes more passion, zeal, and fervor. This is the energy essential for successful pursuit. In the case of the Darkest Hour, the British people said they would never, never, never stop fighting against Hitler. We feel that same passion coming from Ukraine now. They have great courage. It is contagious and inspires others to help.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE. Help and serve others. The most effective Passionate Pursuers realize that it's vital to build relationships with and bring along on life's journey the proper people and support network and also lessen the impact of improper ones. Don't do it alone. In helping others, you help yourself. Recently a massive wildfire suddenly engulfed 1000 homes close to where I live and the community rose up to help. Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, other natural disasters, and war are impacting our nation and the world, but people are coming forth to help. We must be allies.
PERSIST. Effective Passionate Pursuers use the Persistence Strategy to mindfully persevere with focused determination using a divide-and-conquer tactic and never giving up. The approach is to: (1) commit to a clear purpose, (2) divide the whole purpose into parts, (3) conquer the whole, piece by piece, and persevere with unremitting will to accomplish each part, and (4) seek feedback to assess progress, build confidence, and adjust the action plan.


M. Scott Peck, in his landmark book The Road Less Travelled, reminds us that "Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it."

Use the four Practical Pointers above to find the courage to continue, even in the worst of times. Never give up. It is the pursuit of passionate purpose, as well as its attainment, and relationships along the way that bring the real rewards in life.

copyright @2022 Theresa M. Szczurek.  All rights reserved.  

Does Technology Improve Work-Life Balance?

Information technology is a double-edged sword offering a mixed bag. There are pros and cons.

"Current generations coming into the workforce are much more concerned about work-life balance and flexibility. How will technology address these concerns?" asked Jill Tietjen, P.E., moderator of the panel discussion on Powering Up the New Economy through Technology and Inclusivity at the recent conference of the International Women's Forum of Colorado.

I was honored to speak on the panel along with Dr. Janet Kavandi, astronaut and SVP at Sierra Nevada Corporation. Note that I love to speak. I'd be pleased to speak at your next meeting on this or other topics.

THE PROS — Some Ways Technology Encourages Work-Life Balance

SAVES TIME. The use of technology can save time, so you can spend it how you like. I recall how my grandmother washed clothes over 50 years ago. It took most of a day using a ringer washer first and then hanging the clothes on a line to dry. Now with modern washing machines and dryers, clean clothes are achieved in a fraction of the time. Think of how the pandemic changed grocery shopping for many of us. Rather than driving to / from the store, spending time walking the aisles, and then checking out, online shopping reduces the process to a few clicks on a computer or smartphone followed by delivery or pickup.

ENABLES REMOTE WORK. Thanks to computers, Internet access, and collaboration software, many people can work from home or in remote locations. This can save commute time and expense, reduce pollution, improve productivity, and increase flexibility. Of course, employers need to agree. I remember running our company Radish Systems virtually. This allowed us to hire the best people from around the country who would not have otherwise relocated. I was the State of Colorado Chief Information Officer when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and my Information Technology team quickly — in a matter of a few weeks — enabled 80% of the 30,000 state employees to work remotely. We found employees were less stressed and more productive, while working longer hours and staying healthier.

REDUCES MUNDANE WORK THROUGH INCREASED AUTOMATION. With artificial intelligence (AI), more and more mundane and repetitive work is being automated. Especially when there's a workforce shortage, automation allows workers to focus on the most challenging problems. Amazon, for example, has stated a goal for their warehouses to eventually run completely with robots. The future of much work is white collar, and people need the proper training to have the digital skills to succeed. Of course, rather than work-life balance, we must realize that increased automation may take the "spirit" out of work and leave a jobless underclass.

THE CONS — Some Ways Technology Discourages Work-Life Balance

INCREASES STRESS. Many people are always plugged in. They are therefore always on call. Since employers know this, they may put 24/7 demands with unrealistic response times on their staff. Rather than turn off and relax, people 'waste' time by surfing the internet, playing games, or mindlessly scanning social media.

HURTS SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT AND CAN BE MANIPULATIVE. Watch the movie The Social Dilemma and learn from the tech experts in Silicon Valley on the dangerous impact of social networking, which technology firms use in an attempt to manipulate and influence. The Social Dilemma points out that many social networks exploit human weakness by designing with something called "positive intermittent reinforcement" in mind. This has been linked, especially in youth, to increased mental health challenges. Many of these tech gurus do not let their children use social media.

IMPACTS BRAIN FUNCTION. Research has shown that frequent digital technology use has a significant impact — both negative and positive — on brain function and behavior. Potential harmful effects include heightened attention-deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, impaired brain development, and disrupted sleep. This is especially impactful for the young. That's why we chose to have our daughter participate in a Waldorf-influenced elementary school. Waldorf Schools are very careful in structuring the environment for children so that wonder and imagination thrive. They suggest limiting media exposure for children, especially before 4th grade.

INCREASES CYBERCRIME RISK. As discussed in my May 2021 Szczurek Success Strategies newsletter, cybercrime is a big and growing risk. To protect yourself and your business, consider people, processes, and technology, and take action. Otherwise you may lose your identity or lose precious data and have your business shut down. A cybercrime attack can take enormous time to recover from, create stress, and cause financial harm — the opposite of work-life balance.


Technology can both encourage and discourage work-life balance. Be aware. Know how important it is to take action. Set the intention to be on top of it. Encourage children, at the proper age, to pursue STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) careers so they can be part of the solution.

copyright @2021 Theresa M. Szczurek.  All rights reserved.  

Don't Wait: Live the Life You Want


The stories of living life interest me. That's why I interviewed 80 people from all walks of life for my book, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose. That's also why I read the Obituaries and go to Memorial Services.
At a holiday party my friend Alice shared about her travels to Patagonia in South America. In explaining her adventure goals for 2018 she advised, "Don't wait! Do what you want to do now. You never know what life may bring."

Mary Anderson's Life

To cement this important message, I read in Sunday's paper about the life of Dr. Mary Anderson (not her real name). She was an Emergency Room physician and health administrator with 30 years of compassionate and wise leadership at a local hospital. She entered health care to make a meaningful difference.

She was fearless. She skied off 14,000-ft mountains, jumped off towering cliffs in a hang glider, surfed the ocean's biggest waves, and fished the farthest reaches of British Columbia — all with a bold passion. She possessed a venturesome spirit, a keen and inquisitive mind, unbounded energy, a natural athleticism, a spiritual connection to the environment, a love of animals, and a deep devotion to family. For 20 years, she and her husband trained and ran marathons together from Athens, Greece to Santiago, Chile.

In the end, she died of a heart attack — just weeks before retirement and commencing the next phase of her life where she planned to drive her Sprinter van to the southern tip of Argentina. I didn't know Mary personally, but it seems like she lived a great, albeit short, life. She did not wait.

It's a Wonderful Life

Especially at this time of the year, I think of the classic movie, It's a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. In the movie, Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey who lives in Bedford Falls and runs the Bailey Building and Loan Association. He has a bucket list of his own, but he never gets to check anything off. He didn't travel the world as he envisioned; he gave up college so his younger brother could attend instead; he skipped his honeymoon to save the Building and Loan; he didn't own a trophy home or have a high-paying job. Through all of his trials and tribulations, however, he was able to help his family and the people of Bedford Falls in important ways. At the end, he was heralded as the "richest man in town" and the person who indeed had the wonderful life.

Tips to Live the Life You Want

Regardless of the path you're on and your goals for the future, there are many ways to achieve your own wonderful life. The key is to lead an authentic life now — the life you were born to live.

SET THE INTENTION to live life to the fullest. Make it a meaningful year and life.
PLAN. Dream big. What do you want to do with your one precious personal and professional life?
SIMPLIFY. Get rid of the clutter, financial constraints, and emotional baggage that may be holding you back. Resolve what needs to be resolved. Allow yourself to be free.
DON'T WAIT. Take action. What will you do today to bring your dreams into reality? Start now!


As George Bernard Shaw said, "Don't wait for the right opportunity. Create it!" Set the intention, form a plan, simplify your life, and start now to live your life to the fullest. Don't wait.  Resolve and start fresh. 

Overcoming Fear: Take Action to Defend Core Values

In challenging times, take steps to overcome fear.  The famous opening sentence of the Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities, begins, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair..."

According to, "It tells about the time of chaos, conflicts, time of despair as well as happiness. It in fact tells us about the time of extreme opposites without any in-betweens." There are polarities that exist in all of life, including ourselves. Learn more at Polarity Management by Johnson, Pursuit of Passionate Purpose, Chapter 7 by Szczurek, and Go with the Flow by Szczurek.

Although published in 1859 about the French Revolution, this Dickens message also represents TODAY in a divided country and world. Such challenges can trigger FEAR.


Fear is a strong, unpleasant emotion associated with anxiety and fright. The known and the unknown — such as uncertainty — can trigger fear. There are at least two kinds of fear: irrational fright that you make up in your head and rational panic that comes from true danger. Both feel real. There is a time and a place for working through fear with persistence and another for getting out of the situation. Wisdom is knowing when to appropriately use each one of these.

Practical Pointers to Handle Fear

Eileen Joseph, philanthropic consultant, states, "We all face challenges. It is what we do with those challenges that make us the people we are."

  • KNOW YOUR VALUES. In these turbulent times, it is extremely important to know thyself. What are your values? What do you stand for? Values define what is meaningful to you. They are an essential element in defining your passion.
  • FACE AND NAME. Become aware of the discouraging forces, such as fear, that burden you. Identify and name them so it's easier for you to overcome. The way to work with obstacles is to admit them, not repress them.
  • CULTIVATE. Develop the opposite quality. Intentionally nurture and build the opposing positive force. What is the opposite of fear? It is love! How can you cultivate more love in your life and in the world?
  • SURROUND. Encircle yourself with supportive and loving people. Work together. Determine a strategy and plan of action.
  • COMMUNICATE. Strengthen your non-violent, compassionate communications skills. See, for example, Do You Really Hear Me?
  • LIMIT. In times where fake news and painful real news propagate, it's best to limit your intake. Yes, you want to be informed so you can take action, but overindulging in social media, broadcast news and cable can drive fear. Do a quick scan of headlines in print media and choose to read further or not.
  • DEFEND YOUR VALUES AND ACT. Once you know what you value, you can protect, guard, and take action to ensure you live true to your highest convictions. Just do it!


Once while kayaking in turbulent whitewater, I found myself upside down in the water and unable to roll. It was more than I could handle and I experienced rational fear as part of an innate survival instinct. After unsuccessfully trying for years to improve my kayaking skills, I finally moved to river rafting so I could more easily work together with supportive and skilled paddlers while still living true to my outdoor adventure values.


As Eleanor Roosevelt advises, "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." 

Overcome fear, cultivate love.  Stand strong with your highest convictions.  Know what you stand for.  Take action to defend core values.


Theresa M. Szczurek (;;

copyright 2017, all rights reserved.

ANGELS AND DEMONS: How to Fund Your Venture

I’m not talking about the bestselling mystery-thriller book / film involving the Vatican.  I am referring to what an entrepreneur deals with in funding a business.  While it is harder than ever, at least in Colorado, to find the funds, it is worth it since businesses produce jobs, pay taxes, create products and services, train their workforce, return value to investors, and provide a meaningful pursuit of passionate purpose.


Sources of Funding


“There are several million “startups” that are formed each year. In very general terms, roughly 1,500 startups get funded by venture capitalists in the US, and 50,000 by angel investors. VCs look at around 400 companies for every one in which they invest; angels look at 40,” states David Rose, CEO of, an on-line community connecting investors with deals.  Angels are high net-worth individuals who are often sophisticated, accredited investors interested in early-stage private equity or debt investment in emerging firms with great potential.

“Around 90 Colorado firms were funded by VCs in 2012 with approximately $550M coming from 125 different venture capital funds.  Over 80% of those funds came from out of state,” stated James Linfield, Managing Partner, Cooley LLP, a top global law firm, at the recent VCIR (Venture Capital in the Rockies) 2013 Winter conference co-hosted by Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association and KPMG.


This annual conference in Beaver Creek was kicked off by Colorado Governor Hickenlooper, who is himself a successful entrepreneur.  VCIR brought together carefully preselected emerging growth entrepreneurs, venture capitalists (VCs), and service providers for networking, company pitches, education, partying, and skiing.  Mike Bearup, Managing Partner of KPMG, a leading accounting and audit firm that helps run VCIR, reported that there were over 250 conference registrants showing there is no lack of interest in funding ventures.


What happens to the other firms that don’t get VC or Angel funding?  They may die or they may get funded from other options such as:

  • Sales.  This is the best and easiest approach.  Just sell more.  No need to get diluted or worry about dissatisfied ‘demon’ investors.
  • Founder’s Capital.  Prepare, save, and dip into your own pockets.  
  • Sweat Equity.  Staff members work for equity instead of cash to keep burn rate low and to get a piece of the action.
  • Friends and Family.  These people believe in you and want you to succeed.  They make an emotional decision to invest. 
  • Government Grants such as SBIR.  Contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) and your local SBDC (Small Business Development Center) as a first step.
  • Strategic Partners.  These firms need what you have and will fund you in exchange for early use of your product.  They may eventually acquire your firm.
  • Bank Lending and other financial vehicles.  Check with your local banker.  They might even be an SBA lender.
  • Crowdfunding.  Let the masses fund your project or venture online.


Four Practical Pointers to Funding Your Venture.


  1. Find the Angels or Invest in a Start-up.  The Rockies Venture Club’s annual Angel Capital Summit conference was held on March 19 and 20, 2013.  Entrepreneurs were there seeking investors.  Angels were there learning how to be a better investor and seeking deals.  This year’s conference kicked off with a live interview with David Cohen of Techstars ,  Jon Nordmark, former CEO and co-founder of eBags and currently CEO of UsingMiles gives the Day 2 keynote lunch speech, and up to 35 of Colorado’s hottest startups will be pitching to investors.  Be on the look-out for other valuable gatherings. 


  1. Get help.  Are you an aspiring entrepreneur?  Get involved in one of the many programs to help you succeed.  For example, The Founder’s Institute, self claimed as the World's Largest Startup Accelerator, has a mission to "Globalize Silicon Valley" and help founders build enduring technology companies. It is working with over 800 graduate companies and part-time programs operating in 40 cities. Register for the next Denver program by April 14, 2013 at  


  1. Surround Yourself with Other Hot Entrepreneurs. Colorado has some cool conferences where innovation lives – learn as much as you can.  Each Fall there is the annual Defrag Conference (now with its Blur addition) which explores enterprise collaboration, social media and big data.  At the November 2012 Blur conference, I learned all about 3-D printing.  This is really cool and is changing how products are designed!  Coming soon is Glue Conference ( ) in Broomfield from May 22 and 23, 2013.  Learn how developers, architects, administrators, and integrators are solving the web application integration problem-set.  Or check out the many other technology and innovation conferences.  These will inspire you and provide a means to connect with other potential partners, investors, and customers.


  1. Bootstrap.  Vic Ahmed, successful business man and founder of Innovation Pavilion (, an ecosystem for entrepreneurs which is now bringing the Angel Capital Group to Colorado, advises, “It is a mistake to assume you need to raise funds. You lose control and there are consequences of raising money.  Try to bootstrap your firm.  Cut your team and increase your runway.  If you still need outside funds, ask, ‘Do you really have a high growth company?  Can you achieve hockey stick growth?’ If the dog is not eating the dog food, you are fooling yourself and it is a dream that you can raise money.  Fundraising can take all of a CEO’s time, time you can spend building your business.  If you decide to take in outside money, know thy investor.  You will sleep better at night and reduce your stress.” 


Seeking to fund your business?  Attract more angels and avoid the demons! 

Theresa M. Szczurek (;;

Harry Potter’s Business Success Secrets

Have you ever seen such a thing?  People pay a large amount of money to get the opportunity to stand in the hot sun for over an hour in a long line to be able to shop in a certain store.  Then when they finally get into the store, they spend lots of money buying theme products. Unbelievable?  That’s what hundreds of Muggles (non-magical types) did at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” as part of the newest attraction in Universal Studios in Orlando, FL.  Wouldn’t every business love becoming an international craze with huge demand?


Over Spring Break 2011 besides attending the CTIA Wireless show, I experienced with my daughter one of the biggest business successes.  People of all ages traveled in from all over the world and spent lots of money for parking, entrance fees, food, and products.  As a Harry Potter fan, I must admit it was brilliant and the Hogwart’s Castle ride whereby you experienced being on a broom in a Quiddtich Match with Harry was the best ride ever.


7 Practical Pointers.  What are the Harry Potter business success strategies?  What can we learn and apply to our businesses?  Radish systems is using these.


  1. Start with an exceptional product or service.  The Harry Potter book series by pauper turned billionaire J. K. Rowling was one of the biggest and most profitable publishing phenomena.  My daughter has read all seven books hundreds of times – no lie.  The product is different, is filled with characters readers can related to, is action-filled with magic and suspense addressing a universal good versus evil topic, and hit at the right time.  By dividing the book into many parts, there was anticipation for the next part of the story. One of the most important P’s of marketing, have the right product.
  2. Be responsive to the market, your customers.  Here is another important P of marketing, know and respond to the people. Wouldn’t it be great if your customers can’t stop thinking, dreaming, and talking about your firm and your service? Your customers are your most important asset – without them you would have no revenue, you would be out of business.  If you make sure your customers are happy, they will keep coming back and make sure you are happy.  How often do you ask your customers and prospects what their pain is and how you can best resolve it?
  3. Leverage success to breed more success.  The bestselling book, led to sell-out movies, which led to in-demand products, overflowing amusement parks, and much more.  It is the same concept that Starbuck’s and other well-known brands have used for concentric diversification and additional revenue streams.
  4. Go viral.    Harry Potter came out just as social media channels began to take hold.  Readers spread the word to other readers.  When the park was about to be announced, the top 10 Harry Potter bloggers were invited to a private meeting.  They then spread the word virally.  Within 24 hours, millions knew about it. How can you use this most important promotional tool (another P of marketing)?
  5. Think BIG.  Believe everything is possible.  Be open to the possibilities.  Use the Attraction Strategy to power the pull (as explained in Chapter 8 of Pursuit of Passionate Purpose,
  6. Surround yourself with great people.  Harry had Hermione and Ron, and Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix who were united in a common set of values.  Rowling found a great publisher and other support team members.
  7. Be lucky.  It is said that luck comes when preparation meets opportunity.  Believe, prepare, and then act.  It is useful to be lucky.

Theresa Szczurek ( and


Do you recall Frank Sinatra’s hit song, “That’s Life?”  Think of his lyrics, ‘pick myself up and get back in the race.’  This youtube video has good advice for all of us (


Many people would say they are happy that 2009 is behind them, that last year was a challenging time.  How can you ensure 2010 is not a repeat of 2009 but much better with business growth?


Believe and Act.  You must believe that it is possible and then take proper, positive actions to make it happen. Every year I select a theme to focus my efforts.  I don’t recall ever choosing the same theme twice, until this year.  “Believe and Act” remains as the theme because this is exactly what is needed to get back in the race. What is your theme this year?


Regenerate.  Recall from my research and book Pursuit of Passionate Purpose that Passionate Pursuers are like sunflowers; thus there is a large bright yellow flower on the book’s cover.  Successful people have the nine traits that align with each letter of the word SUNFLOWER.  R stands for “regenerative.”  They don’t let things keep them down – they rebound.  A regenerative nature allows Passionate Pursuers to revive, renew, and product again despite adversity, setbacks, and obstacles.  Resilience is a common trait of the extremely wealthy; check out my article “How to Think Like a Billionaire” at


Practical Pointers.  Here’s what to do to get back in the race in order to position you and your company for the big win? 


  1. Assess what worked and what did not work last year.  What progress did you make?
  2. Decide to revise your attitude.  You must believe that everything is possible.  Believe, believe, believe that you can pick yourself up and get on top.
  3. Revise your personal and corporate Strategic Plan.  What is your vision for the future – where do you want to go? What actions will get you to where you want to go?  Go back to the basics, yet get creative.
  4. Act.  Then do what you need to do.  Get help and don’t try to do it all alone.


It’s never too late.  Schedule a Strategic Planning session.  Contact me today and let’s explore how to get you back into the race.


Theresa M. Szczurek ( and


copyright 2010 Theresa M. Szczurek  all rights reserved.